The Hilarious Reactions To Sony’s Latest Spider-Verse Misfire ‘Madame Web’ Almost Justify The Movie’s Sad Existence

MAdame Web

The movie industry’s modern marketplace is saturated with all sorts of titles based on comic books, largely because they’re viewed as the “safest” big-budget blockbusters that could make studios massive profits. That’s becoming less true, as so-called superhero fatigue has hit audiences pretty hard. Madame Web is the latest attempt to cash in on big Spider-Man adjacent IP, and based on the reviews and reactions, it doesn’t work at all.

Now let’s get some things straight right away. Nobody should be blaming the cast, led by Dakota Johnson in the titular role, nor should director S.J. Clarkson be put on blast for what many consider to be a dumpster fire of a movie. Clarkson has a long line of respectable credits, including hit shows like Succession and even a former Netflix Marvel property, Jessica Jones.

It’s also worth noting that Sony has had raging success with its two animated Spider-Verse films, so somebody over there knows what makes a good movie in the realm of Spider-Man. Sony also shared credit on Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy. For whatever reason, Sony can’t seem to get these live-action Spider-Verse titles right when they’re chiefly in charge. Even though Tom Hardy’s two Venom flicks have been profitable, they weren’t critical darlings by any means. Last year’s bomb Morbius was another example of the Sony’s Spider-Man Universe failing to translate to the big screen.

Madame Web is a classic case of too many creative cooks in the kitchen. That’s how you get a chopped up story with thinly-drawn characters, a scattershot plot and a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The main villain of the movie has so many of his lines dubbed over in post-production. How can you tell this is the case? His lips don’t match the words being spoken at a rate that would surprise you. And that’s the tip of the iceberg as to what went wrong in this one.

Fans of Madame Web-related material in the comics deserved better with a core trio of young cast members led by Sydney Sweeney that clearly got along but weren’t given much good to do in the actual movie. Johnson did the best she could with what was given, yet at certain points in the film, you couldn’t help but wonder if she was just kind of over it. Here’s merely one of many scathing reviews:


What stings even more is that so many people were giving it their all to make this movie work, only to be compromised and sabotaged by whichever person was taking creative control on any given day. That’s how lazy and/or hasty occurrences like these happen:

It always cracks me up a bit when critics say, “The script is a mess!” As if that script didn’t change a bazillion times during the shooting of any given movie. Never mind this Madame Web production, where the frenetic edits, strange plot left turns and lack of narrative payoffs are a clear sign that the story was changing on a whim at almost every turn.

OK but in any event, the dialogue had to be locked in at some point. To say there are some unconventional line readings and/or string of words in the finished product would be quite the understatement. Behold the beautiful compilation below (spoilers, obviously):

More than the movie itself, you can see how kind of worn down Dakota Johnson is in a lot of interviews on this press tour. Some brave soul compiled many of the strange, awkward and funny moments during Madame Web‘s promotional campaign. I’ve included some of my favorites from that thread (web pun intended) for your reading/viewing pleasure.

Again, I am not blaming Johnson at all for how south Madame Web went. She could only do so much as the lead actor in a movie that featured four credited screenwriters and probably several other uncredited script doctors who were trying to make sense of any of it.

When you’re going on Saturday Night Live and throwing shade at your own movie, you know something might be wrong!

Circling back to line deliveries/strange dialogue for a second, the uncomfortable exchange between the interviewer and Johnson in the clip below is regarding a viral line of clunky exposition from the Madame Web trailer. What if I told you that line wasn’t in the finished film? Would you be the least bit surprised? Because that’s what happened.

If that doesn’t encapsulate the quintessence of Madame Web, I don’t know what does. How about a couple more “efforts” at promoting the movie for the road?

Even people who don’t intend to see Madame Web are loving the absurdity of its release and/or are driven by such morbid curiosity that they may, in fact, see the thing after all.

Others who have watched the film are embracing the “so bad it’s good” of it all.

At least Adam Scott was awesome as Ben Parker. Yep, the future Uncle Ben to an eventual Peter Parker / Spider-Man.

Getting a sequel to Madame Web was already a long shot, considering the actors are of suitable superhero age and the movie is set in the year 2003 (you read that right, 2003). It takes place in its own self-contained universe in Marvel’s macro multiverse. The Peter Parker who is born right at the end of this movie will never see the silver screen. Hard to understand Sony’s thinking behind how they executed this one.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock